Monthly Archives: January 2011

The return of Manmoth

January 5, 2011
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The return of Manmoth

Manmoth can’t really be dead, can he? But Manmoth died in the autumn: DEATH OF OSCAR WILDE; He Expires at an Obscure Hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Is Said to Have Died from Meningitis, but There Is a Rumor that He Committed Suicide. What love best about Manmoth? (A Top Five or Ten list of minutiae that will eventually come round to the critic and his work, in publication) Fingal O’Flahertie Wills as middle names (older brother Willie Wilde—a real, as if imagined, alliterative sibling—and two half-sisters burned to death in an accident triggered by one dancing too close to a coal fire) deep appreciation for peacock feathers as decorative accoutrement; also: blue china and lilies (and lectures during his 1882 American tour on the history of interior design) Names of periodicals at which he played an editorial role: the Pall Mall Gazette; the Lady’s World, later the Woman’s World; and the Chameleon (limited run) choice of architecturally tectonic (as if GPS) coordinates for the publication name associated with The Ballad of Reading Gaol—C33 (cell block C, landing 3, cell 3) the fascinating etymology of the word “dude,” (c. 1883) in which (depending on the source) Wilde plays . . .

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